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Poestenkill, New York: Winter

Origin: America, New York, Poestenkill
Unframed, Octagonal: 18 5/8 x 25in. (47.3 x 63.5cm) and Framed (Octagonal): 19 5/16 x 25 3/4 x 1 1/2in.
Oil on wood panel
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.102.16
A townscape painted in oval format on an octagonal panel in an octagonal frame. The season is winter, with snow shown on the ground. A street stretches back from front center foreground into the distance, with a street crossing it in the lower half of the foreground. Houses line both streets. There is a large white church with a steeple at the far right side of painting, and a horse and sleigh in the street driving towards it. A blacksmith and forge are shown in the right foreground in a red barn. Several figures pursue various activities throughout the town. Some trees are bare; two prominent groups of evergreens are shown in the distance at the edge of the town.

The 5/8-inch flat, black-painted frame is a modern addition.
Label:This winter scene of the artist's hometown is distinguished from his others by its oval format on an octagonal panel and by the close range of the view. The third number in the inscribed year date is now obscured but must be a six since the Lutheran church seen at right was not built until 1865, and Hidley died in 1872.

The painting affords a good view of the artist's house, whose yellow color makes it seem more prominent than most of the other structures surrounding it. Of particular interest are the variety of horse-drawn sledges, the vignette at lower right center that shows a blacksmith shop with a customer and his horse standing before the open door, and a broken wagon partially covered by snow and abandoned just beyond the smithy's shop. Hidley's familiarity with the town and the day-to-day activities of its residents give his scenes a degree of intimacy and reality often missing in the more polished topographical townscapes and cityscapes executed by trained professional artists.

Hidley used his typical basic palette of colors here but muted them in the far hills to capture the place on a snow-covered, late afternoon in winter. His light source comes from the west, beyond the pale green-blue hills, which are in shadow. His ability to capture the subtleties of changing light in these areas versus the violet-and-blue-tinted hills on the right is noteworthy as one of his best efforts in using color perspective.

Provenance:Purchased from an unidentified dealer in Troy, NY, by A. Leland Lusty, Troy, NY, ca. 1940; Clifton Blake, location unknown; J. Stuart Halladay and Herrell George Thomas, Sheffield, Mass.
Halladay died in 1951, leaving his interest in their jointly-owned collection to his partner, Thomas. Thomas died in 1957, leaving his estate to his sister, Mrs. Albert N. Petterson, who was AARFAC's vendor.
Also see note 1 in "Notes."
Inscription(s):In white paint on the black border at lower right is "PAINTED BY J. H. H. FEBRUARY 11, 18[6]8." In black paint, the sign on the large white building with a colonnaded porch at lower left is "PO[ES]TENKI[LL] HOTEL".
An incised script inscription on the back of the panel appears to read: "George Cooper's Mill [From?]/Prediger Black[smith Shop?]/David Clark Blacksmith". Also on the back of the panel, incised at far left, is "Hidley"; in white paint at far left is "5-"; and in black paint is "[?] 2-1/Reg 4-0".